“So what do you do all day?” someone asked me. “I mean, what IS there to do down there by yourselves?”
Yeah. Good question. After some thought I realized that what I do all day happens mostly in the kitchen. For example, here’s one of last week’s chores:
Poblanos, from Larry’s garden. It is Larry’s garden, his domain, his man-cave. He plants, tends, harvests and then? Right. So I was about to roast these lovelies, then freeze them for future — well — whatever. They’re the last of the produce for the year, but from the garden and orchard this year, I’ve fermented sauerkraut, canned pears, made pickles, both dill and bread and butter (this with help from buddy Vik), made blackberry jelly, dried prunes, frozen tomato sauce, frozen apple slices and mock-mincemeat, pickled hot peppers. I thought to line up the jars for a photo shoot, but that was too much work.
When you add cooking the daily bread, it adds up to a lot of hours beside the kitchen sink. No — Larry bakes the bread chez Viehl, that comment was meant metaphorically.
But sometimes we do get away. We recently toured the Nature Conservancy preserve surrounding the confluence of the Middle and Coast forks of the Willamette. We’d been there 10 years ago when the property had been acquired, and it was pretty wonderful to see how the former gravel mining site has been transformed:
Sometimes the get-aways are not all that much fun:
The realization that IF we ever manage to sell or lease our condo, we have to remove all personal belongings has struck. Until now, as we use the condo for our Portland base, we have left supplies appropriate to that activity in place. Okay, let’s be honest. We bought new toothbrushes, etc. for farm use, but over the years, acres of stupid debris have accreted in the condo. Is that the correct word? Like shampoo samples from hotels around the world. Extra toothbrushes from dentist visits. Multiple bottles, bits and pieces — well, you know. I bet you do this, too.
Anyway, the photo above is from just one day’s hard work. This is the stuff we didn’t throw away, and about which hard calls will have to be made on its arrival in Corvallis. One of us is a pack rat, the other a practitioner of the Throw-it-away school. Maybe not obvious who’s who, but one of us wonders why a man needs 17 golf shirts. Yes, all of them in perfect condition. She has to bite her tongue.
While all around us the election vibrated, a moment of transcendence:
It’s here! Already the catalogs are arriving. Ah, winter.
Been below freezing, the chickens are molting and NOT laying eggs. Can I correctly say “not laying eggs?” As in perform a negative? Hmm. Their water freezes, so we stretch an electric cord across the driveway to heat their dispenser. Larry does not like this practice, but needs must.
And it’s time to bake the fruit cake. Back to the kitchen!